Class of 2003
Oba Belcher coached the Athens State College (now Athens State University) Bears from 1961-1979. Under his leadership, the Bears compiled a 316-175 record that included 16 winning seasons and four consecutive 20-win seasons. Athens State became a small college basketball power during his career. Belcher led the Bears to their first National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national tournament play. The Bears won three NAIA district championships, six conference championships and five tournament championships. His achievements earned several coaching honors. He was named once NAIA District 27 Coach of the Year, Southern State Conference Coach of the Year and the Birmingham Post-Herald's Small College Coach of the Year.
For 11 years, he served as the NAIA District chairman. Yet, his finest honor came in 1988 when he was inducted into the NAIA Hall ofFame in Kansas City. The award recognized not only athletic achievement but excellence both on and off the court.
He produced some of Athens State's top performers. Four NAIA All-Americans played for Belcher including Charles Garner, Lynn Holladay, a two-time All-American, Travis Butler and Harold Corlew. Belcher began his career as a high school basketball coach. He had an undefeated season at Cullman High School before leaving to follow his desire to coach at the collegiate level. From 1959-61, he was an assistant basketball coach at Auburn University before accepting the head coaching job at Athens State. Following his retirement from coaching, he continued at Athens State as director of evening classes and later as director of the institution's Redstone Arsenal extension center in Huntsville until 1990.